Yesterday, in the grocery store, I made some poor choices. The Super Bowl was my primary excuse. My husband’s requests ran a close second. But much of the junk food also happened to be my favorites.
Nothing required any preparation and met the requirement of having “plenty of snacks for all four quarters.” Chips. Hot wings. Jalapeno poppers. Ice cream. Popcorn. You know, football food.
Instead of buying real food and committing to the effort I know must accompany it, I bought frozen, pre-made, easy-to-fix, nutritionally lacking junk food. Sadly, the only benefit that kind of food can give is momentary pleasure.
As I loaded my selections on the checkout counter I thought about two things. First, I knew I would regret my “food” choices on Monday. And second, I thought about how often I make the same mistake with my spiritual health. I resist the effort it takes to feast on the nutritional meat of God’s Word and instead binge on spiritual junk food.
The author of Hebrews addressed a similar issue with his readers:
There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. Hebrews 5:11-14, NLT
These “Peter Pan” Christians didn’t want to grow up. Their diet of spiritual milk temporarily relieved their spiritual hunger. Contentedly skipping along on the surface of their faith, they took in the same basics over and over. They refused to put forth the disciplined effort that spiritual growth and maturity requires. They took the easy path instead of working to ingest the rich, healthy meat of God’s Word.
We often live the same way, filling the holes in our spirits with mere baby food, or even spiritual junk food. We play in the shallows and talk about how great the water is when we could – and should – be in over our heads.
Examples of Spiritual Junk Food
Spiritual junk food sits eye level on the shelf. It’s easy to grab for a quick bite. Here are a few examples:
- Quick devotional thoughts based on a small passage pulled out of its context
- Visually pleasing memes with an inspiring, spiritual-light slogan
- On-the-run prayers substituted for time on our knees
Characteristics of Spiritual Junk Food
While a few things on the spiritual fast-food menu can give some benefit – I enjoy a beautiful meme as much as the next person – they should be appetizers or snacks, not the basis for our spiritual diet. Evaluate your spiritual diet by reflecting on these characteristics of spiritual junk food:
- Gives quick, but fleeting spiritual satisfaction
- Lacks deep, real spiritual value
- Provides a “feel good” spiritual high with no correction, challenge, or call to obedience
Our spiritual health requires preparation, hard work, discipline, and persistence. If we want to be spiritually mature, we must train ourselves to be godly (1 Timothy 4:7-8). We can’t microwave spiritual growth.
How’s your basic spiritual diet? Is there some junk food in your diet you weren’t even aware of?
If you’d like to evaluate your discipleship check out this post.